Friday, October 12, 2007

Mom's Cooking

My mother was born in South Carolina and like most mothers, her cooking style was all her own. I don't know how much of the region was present in her food; it was just "mom's cooking".

My mother tried to teach me to cook as a young girl but I was having none of what I perceived as her efforts to steer me in a woman's role direction. I would have a bright successful future and not mess around with that woman's work stuff. I hadn't figured out the eating part and just who would be cooking my meals.

Later, when I was in college I had figured out the eating part, Top Ramen, Ritz Crackers and weekends going home took care of who would be cooking the meals. I once tried to make an apple pie following the directions on a Bisquick box. The pie literally could not be cut, my roommates and I even hit it with a hammer; it made a loud clang when it hit the bottom of the trash can.

My mother made Southern food; some call it "soul food" but I think that's somewhat of a misnomer. My mother made "comfort food" greens, macaroni and cheese (my mom's resembled a kind of kugel), meatloaf, fried chicken, lima beans, biscuits, corn bread, these were some of her staples and they were like ambrosia to me.

Once during a call home from college, mom discovered I had been on a pre-digested liquid protein fast. This diet consisted of only ingesting a foul tasting liquid and drinking water; I was on the third day of this fast when the call occurred and to say I was hungry would have been an understatement. My mother begins to talk about dinner the weekend I come home, I say no dinner for me because I'm fasting; then follows a brief mother/daughter argument about dieting. Mom decides to take a different approach and begins to discuss what she's making, wow, all my favorite foods, how about that, what a coinky dink! Needless to say, I got to my mother's house on the "first thing smoking" and ate like a crazed weasel! Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, green beans and biscuits-the health food of my youth.

Recently, as I was making dinner the thought occurred to me to make biscuits. I hadn't really tried to make anything like this since the pie debacle in college but somehow, I knew I could do this. As I was making them I saw myself making them the way I'd always watched my mother make them; right down to rolling the dough with a glass and using the opening of the glass for a cutter. SO exclaimed how good they were, and that they were "picture perfect".

Well of course they were. My mom taught me.